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A Day in the Life of an Operator at Northern Mat & Bridge

Access Mat Installation

When you meet someone for the first time, what is one of the first questions that you ask them? It's probably something along the lines of "what do you do for a living?" People seem innately curious about what other people do all day, and what they contribute to the world. We want to introduce you to one of our employees, Henry Barder, a Heavy Equipment Operator and showcase a day in his life at Northern Mat & Bridge.


Henry Barder, Heavy Equipment Operator

How I Found My Way to Northern Mat & Bridge

I've worked as an excavator and loader operator at Northern Mat & Bridge since July of 2014. I've worked extremely hard to be where I am today; making my way up the ladder from a labouring position. When working as a labourer, I looked up and saw the excavator operator driving his equipment and I realized that I wanted to be him, I made it happen. I applied online for the job at Northern Mat & Bridge. I did have six years of experience and came to the company with tickets in construction safety, H2S Alive, pipeline construction, powered mobile equipment, ground disturbance training and first aid. This made me competitive to be hired for a position.

The Outstanding Training I Received

The training provided by Northern Mat & Bridge has also been unbelievable. They arranged the opportunity to take two weeks in the Grande Prairie yard and learn from some of their most experienced operators. They taught me all of the tips and tricks that they know from years in the industry. They passed them on to me so that I knew how to handle the mats in the field. The company also made sure I completed courses for the gaps in my knowledge and experience. I've earned Transportation of Dangerous Goods, WHMIS, Hi-Volt Safety, Petroleum Safety and Wildlife Awareness tickets since starting my job with Northern Mat & Bridge.

Access Mat Placement

What it's Like to Work at Northern Mat & Bridge

I enjoy my job for many reasons. First, every day at work is different and unique. My office is out in the field and I'm never at the same site for a long period of time. The scenery is always changing because I work at yards all over the province of Ontario. Secondly, the safety culture of Northern Mat & Bridge is obvious on all of our sites. No matter where I am, we start every day with a safety toolbox meeting where we prepare for the day's work. We assess the site and come up with a plan to lay the mats and work together safely. I'm glad that this company takes safety so seriously, because I want to go home to my wife and little boy at the end of a project. I usually work 28 days on and take a week off; during that time I alternate between working days and nights. I really appreciate the security that my position at Northern Mat & Bridge provides for me and my family. I know that I will receive the hours I need to earn a competitive paycheck.

I really like that teamwork is so strong at this company. I can joke around with my co-workers, but at the same time, when a job needs to be done we focus and complete it efficiently and without incident. We can start the day with a pile of access mats that need to be laid down and we zoom around in our equipment with some music playing; always thinking about the next step and where the next mat will go. Before I know it, the day is at an end and that pile of access mats has been professionally installed for the client. I'm mentally exhausted from the concentration it takes to operate safely, but the day goes by very fast for me because I love what I do for a living.


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